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Heritage Week

8 totally free events for kids during Heritage Week 2018 - from treasure hunts to stargazing

Keep the kids entertained without blowing your back-to-school budget.

THE HERITAGE COUNCIL launched its first Heritage Week back in 2005, and over the last 13 years its become a landmark event on Ireland’s cultural calendar.

In 2017, more than 570,000 people attended events around the country, from guided walking tours to treasure hunts to folklore sessions: around 2,200 events in total.

The programme for 2018 runs from Saturday August 18th to Sunday August 26th, so there’s plenty of opportunities to get the kids out and about on weekends and weekdays before the school holidays end.

With the majority of the programme featuring free events, many of which are suitable for all ages, it’s a handy way to close off the summer holidays without blowing your back-to-school budget.

Here are just a few of the goings-on taking place around the country from this weekend onward…


Take a special children’s tour of Kilmainham Gaol: This is one landmark that’s often fully booked up, so a Heritage Week tour is a great way to explore it. Children aged 8 – 12 can discover Kilmainham Gaol (along with an adult), where they’ll find out about the architecture of the prison, and hear about some of the more notable crimes committed by prisoners – including a few committed by kids.

Suits: 8 – 12 years, accompanied by an adult. When: Sat Aug 18 and Sun Aug 19, 12pm – 1pm. Admission: Free, booking essential. Find out more here.

Try a treasure hunt at Massy’s Woods: Massy’s Woods was once the site of a great Irish estate house, overseen by the Massy family. Some members of the family met quite a colourful end. Kids can learn about the history of Massy’s Woods and the infamous Hellfire Club – and discover some hidden treasure along the way.

Suits: 6+. When: Wed Aug 22nd, 2:30pm – 4pm. Admission: Free, booking essentialFind out more here.

30688164_10159653114206337_782924619110678528_n Check out one of the many outdoor events taking place during Heritage Week 2018. Facebook / Heritage Week Facebook / Heritage Week / Heritage Week


Meet deep sea creatures from Lough Hyne: Join marine biologists from UCC as they pluck sea life from the waters of Lough Hyne and pop them into tanks on its shores, for families to learn all about the unique marine life that live in Ireland’s only saltwater lake. While you learn, you’ll be able to touch and feel the creatures.

Suits: Children under 12. Admission: Free. When: Sat Aug 25th, 11am – 1pm. Find out more here.


Become a starry-eyed Constellation Detective: On the night of Sunday August 19th, Derrynane Beach will transform into an astronomer’s paradise. Keep the kids up late to join members of Caherdaniel Dark Sky Group as they share mythology stories associated with constellations, plus try your hand at telescope and naked-eye stargazing. The path will be led by tealights – torches can affect your night sky vision.

Suits: Under 12s, accompanied by an adult. When: Sun Aug 19th, 11 – 11.45pm. Admission: Free. Find out more here.


Hunt for bugs and mini-creatures in the woods: Make like the CBeebies and have your own Minibeast Adventure at Castlerea’s Fairy House. A nature expert will help kids get up close and personal with creepy crawlies during each session. Pots and nets provided.

Suits: Under 12s. When: Wed Aug 22, every 30 minutes from 12pm – 3:45pm. Admission: Free, 12 children per group. Find out more here.


Grand Canal Wildlife Walk: Learn all about the wildlife that lives along the Grand Canal in Monasterevin, both underwater and above the surface. Nuala Madigan from the Bog of Allen Nature Centre will be on hand to teach families all about the incredible biodiversity associated with this local waterway.

Suits: Under 12s. When: Sun Aug 26, 2:30 – 4:30pm. Find out more here.


Wild Child Day on Wed Aug 22nd: Dedicated to ‘wild children’ everywhere, with family-friendly events at many Heritage Week sites, from storytelling sessions, history hunts, nature trails and more. Find out more here.

Water Heritage Day on Sun Aug 26th: Celebrate Ireland’s most precious natural resource with plenty of waterside events teaching families more about sea, rivers, lakes and even garden ponds. Find out more here.

Find more Heritage Week events online at

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